In a 2011 interview with the Rocky Mount Telegram, George Millar reveals he has been a facilitating fun for a long time. "Soccer wasn't in existence when we started," he points out, and neither were home video games. Noticing a dearth of places in his hometown where kids and families could safely enjoy themselves, he put his skills as a professional contractor to work. In 10 outdoor batting cages, he installed pitching machines that sling baseballs and softballs from T-ball speeds up to 80 miles per hour. Next, he and his crew of five guys—all of whom are still operating the business today—built an 18-hole mini-golf course modeled after those in Myrtle Beach, designing a path that winds past waterfalls, natural plantings, and tricky bunkers filled with saltwater taffy. An arcade blares with games and the crack of pool balls ricocheting inside, and an elephant-shaped inflatable bounce house bobs with jumpers inside until they come zipping out down its slide.
As members of the Coastal Plain League, a confederation of top college players staying hot for the summer, the Wilson Tobs kick off the 2012 season with a matchup against their North Division rivals, the Petersburg Generals. In the past, the Tobs' roster has helped cultivate such star players as current Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander. This year, Clemson first baseman Joe Costigan returns to the Tobs dugout along with St. Louis University pitcher Jon Levin, whose four wins tied for the team lead in 2011. The Tobs kick off their cleats at their home field, Fleming Stadium, a hallowed park whose 73-year history has seen appearances by the likes of Elvis Presley—the King himself—and Mickey Mantle—a player notorious for gyrating his hips before every swing.
Throughout the week, Bounce-N-Around buzzes with activity as kids scramble and jump over the springy landscapes of inflatable bouncers. Arcade games test hand-eye coordination and aptitude at space invading, and electric kiddie rides—such as horses, cars, and helicopters—bob back and forth in their own area. A mini movie theater provides a scaled-down, all-ages cinema experience, complete with tiered seating.
You slide into the starting position, gripping the rope. For a moment, your eyes wander, surveying the white sand beaches and clear waters that surround you. High on a mast above, a cable carrier hooks the other end of your rope—with a tug, you launch into the water. Without the hum of a boat's outboard motor, you're free to concentrate on the sound of your wakeboard cutting the water's surface as you prepare to lift out of the rippling waves and off the first jump.
This is the introduction wake-boarders and wake-skaters at Hexagon Wake Park receive when they set out on the flexible cable that winds through the Tucker Lake obstacle course at high speeds. In this controlled environment, instructors help riders of all ages master the particulars of extreme water sports, such as how to stand and when to give ducks the right of way. Beside the cable park, other visitors explore the open water aboard stand-up paddleboats and kayaks. Visitors can also explore beachside attractions such as water slides, rope swings, and inflatable climbing structures.
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